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The boats of Caesars landings
I was wondering if there is any conjecture on what boats, trireme, bireme or other, were used on the dramatic landing of Britain by Caesar. I have a modeling project I am putting together, with soldiers disembarking from the vessels and wading into water and I cannot seem to find the type of vessel used in this venture. I have seen a painting on the back of Peter connoly' Greece & Rome at war that inspired me to look into this further, the best thing i can find is from *shock and horror" Wikipedia "During the civil war, Caesar made use of a kind of boat he had seen used in Britain, similar to the Irish currach or Welsh coracle. He describes them thus:
[T]he keels and ribs were made of light timber, then, the rest of the hull of the ships was wrought with wicker work, and covered over with hides.[37]"
Damian Laurence Zamprogno
David Mason mentions in his book "Roman Britain and the Roman Navy" that on Caesar's first landing in Britain that 'Scaphae' which were a type of Longboat were used by order of Caesar to assist with the disembarkation of troops from the much larger and taller 'Onerariae' which had a deeper draught and had to stand some distance off shore. Caesar commandeered nearly 100 ships from the territory of the Morini to act as transports, 18 of which carried the cavalry force of 500 men and horses. They were clearly sailing ships and unsuitable for mounting a cross-Channel landing and Caesar's invasion nearly ended in disaster. However the next year the Romans used a modified form of Veneti boats supposedly personally designed by Caesar and these proved far more suitable as a troop transport. They were broader, had a lower freeboard and were powered by both oar and sail. So they could get in closer.
Although we have no description of what Caesar's Veneti boats looked like Tacitus gives a description of ships involved in Germanicus's naval expedition from the Rhine to the Ems in AD15 where he writes
Quote:Some ships were short and broad with little poop or prow and capable of withstanding a rough sea. Some were flat-bottomed, allowing them to be run aground undamaged. Many others were equipped with a rudder each side so that the oarsmen could suddenly reverse direction and land on either side of the river. Many had decks to support catapults which could also serve to carry horses and supplies.
Unfortunately I don't have much more information than that but below is what a Onerariae was supposed to look like


Michael Kerr

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Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"

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